Thanks to our vibrant autumnal foliage and historically mild weather, Halloween isn’t just a holiday favorite among kids.
For parents – especially those scouting out a potential move – Halloween is like a walking open house of Boise neighborhoods. The holiday offers everyone a unique opportunity to explore a new area of the valley, and appreciate the unique charm and architecture that each neighborhood possesses.
Join us as we take a look at Boise’s best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating this Halloween.
Boise’s North End is famous for its Halloween spirit. Most neighbors participate in the fun with ornate decorations and free-flowing candy, which has long made it a popular choice for trick-or-treating.
As one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods – bound by State Street to the south and Hill Road to the north – it features mature, tree-lined streets and cute craftsman and bungalow houses dating from the 1910-1930s. It also features breathtaking Victorian show-stoppers with intricate decorative trim.
The premier trick-or-treating destination of the North End is historic Harrison Boulevard. The stately street boasts numerous homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On Halloween, Harrison Boulevard has historically been closed to car traffic. “Halloween on Harrison” gives an estimated 6,000 visitors – trick-or-treaters and their parents – the freedom to safely travel door-to-door and admire these beautiful homes while partaking in generous, sugar-laden treats.
Venturing off the busy Warm Springs Avenue is just as lucrative (for candy-collecting kids) and as satisfying for parents who are history buffs. That’s because the development of Boise’s East End neighborhood closely parallels the formation of the city itself. Historic Fort Boise and Military Reserve Park hug the northwest corner of the neighborhood, and Boise’s Old Penitentiary, or Old Pen, is located to the east.
If your family enjoys historic entertainment, the Idaho State Historical Society will once again host its popular Frightened Felons event at the Old Pen, featuring a family night on Oct. 25. Families can tour the “haunted” Cell Block 4, watch actors portray real inmates from the past, and take Old Pen mugshots and photos with a historic hearse. Interestingly, much of the stonework you see in the foundations of Boise’s oldest homes was cut by prisoners at the Old Pen.
Warm Springs Avenue, located in the East End, also features a stunning array of historic mansions, many of them built in the 1890s and early 1900s. Sprawling lawns decorated with homemade haunted houses make this geothermal-heated street another wildly popular trick-or-treat location for families. However, Warm Springs Avenue is not closed to traffic on Halloween, which makes this route a better choice for families with older children.
Southeast Boise, the city’s largest and most dense neighborhood, is an eclectic mix of older bungalows tucked into quiet residential streets just east of Boise State University, and newer subdivisions, like the popular Bown Crossing.
This cozy mixed-use development is crowned with a picturesque shopping and dining district, located within strolling distance of the Greenbelt and Boise River. Many of the locally-owned, family-friendly businesses get into the Halloween spirit, offering trick-or-treating for children. This makes Bown Crossing a great alternative for families with small children who’d like to enjoy a nice meal and give their kids a festive trick-or-treating experience without walking too far.
Northeast of Bown Crossing lies Harris Ranch, a beautiful planned development nestled between the Boise River and the foothills that blends stylish, contemporary homes with the walkability of an exquisitely planned community. Young families are flocking to this area of Boise. Parking is excellent and you’ll find many homes open to trick-or-treaters. In addition, the sidewalks are new and the residential blocks are very well lit, making it a perfect neighborhood for pushing strollers or allowing older kids to run ahead on their own.
Bundle up your ghosts and goblins for a tour of all that northwest Boise has to offer. Located north of State Street and stretching along the foothills towards Eagle, this area is a blend of new and older subdivisions, punctuated by large lots and sleepy cul-de-sacs.
The Collister and Sunset neighborhoods are especially family-friendly and aren’t as overwhelming as the popular candy routes in the North and East Ends. The Sunset neighborhood boasts many charming 1950s brick houses, while the Collister neighborhood association hosts a popular neighborhood-wide scarecrow contest each year.
The iconic train station known as the Boise Depot sits high above downtown Boise as a stately gateway to the Bench neighborhood. This area was once farmland that saw stunning population growth in the 1930s and 1940s.
The blocks are marked by large plots (not commonly seen in the historic North and East ends). It also features an architectural kitchen sink of homes. Within a single block, you can see examples of Tudors, Ranch, Cape Cod, Colonial Revival and Spanish Revival designs, which has made the neighborhood a pick for Boise’s annual Heritage Homes Tour.
West Kootenai Street is an especially popular arterial for trick-or-treaters. It features low traffic speeds, historic homes and very festive residents that all come together for a safe, fun, and low-key Halloween experience.
Each year, one particularly festive residence hosts a free Zombie Babyland that bills itself as PG and family-friendly. The hosting family spends all year collecting dolls from thrift shops and then creatively paints and stages them in their backyard for everyone to enjoy.
Other Creative Halloween Celebrations
The Treasure Valley also has many festive alternatives to venturing out on Halloween night. Here are a few popular options, many of which are geared towards families with young children.
Zoo Boise’s Boo at the Zoo and Spooktacular Evenings
Each year, Zoo Boise hosts Boo at the Zoo and a series of Spooktacular evenings, both marketed as “merry-not-scary.” The zoo has fun Halloween displays, costumed characters passing out candy, activities for youngsters and a few animal encounters, all designed for young children.
City of Eagle’s Trick or Treating
Eagle’s Parks and Recreation Department hosts this sweet trick-or-treating event on Oct. 26 for children 0-6 at the Edgewood Spring Creek Senior Living Center. This indoor event allows young children to interact with senior residents, who are tickled to hand out treats to their costumed visitors.
Kleiner Park Family Fun Halloween Trick and Trunk or Treat Bash
Located at the Meridian Senior Center on Oct. 26, this all-day Halloween-themed extravaganza is free for everyone. It features food truck vendors, pumpkins for purchase, pumpkin carving, a costume contest, face painting, games, rides and trick-or-trunk-or-treat booths.
Idaho Botanical Garden’s Scarecrow Stroll
The Idaho Botanical Garden’s annual Scarecrow Stroll, happening throughout the month of October, is a can’t miss event. Visitors of all ages get to enjoy exquisite gardens filled with hand-crafted scarecrows, all made and donated by community members and local organizations. Best of all, visitors get to vote for their favorite creation.
Lisa Kohl is a top Idaho Realtor and creator of WeKnowBoise.com. From Southeast Boise to The North End, up to Eagle and West to Meridian, or right in the middle of the Boise Bench and downtown - We Know Boise. Whether buying or selling a home, we provide full-service real estate solutions dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals.